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History Lives Here Text

Projects & Committees

The Saugatuck-Douglas History Center has defined a number of areas of interest pursuant to its overall mission to preserve local history and inspire learning to inform and improve our community. Each area is represented by a standing committee of the History Center, staffed by volunteers.

Help is always needed and volunteers are welcome. Is there a project or committee of interest to you? If so, tell us you'd like to Volunteer!


The Art History Project seeks to explore, document, preserve, and promote the genre of Midwestern Art, especially as related to the artists who lived and/or worked on our community and the local subjects and landscapes our area provided for inspiration.

The Music Festivals Project is an open collection of oral and written histories, music, photos, contributions, and any such information that document and substantiate these events.

The Saugatuck Music Festivals PDF by Mike Sweeney is a terrific historical summary of those events and the times.

We whole-heartedly invite all who have participated, or have acquired information, to share your experience and add to the records, documents and reports that chronicle the Music Festivals Archive. We would truly love to hear from you and record your stories! Please email us at or call 269-857-7901.

The Oral History Project an open invitation to life-long and modern residents, summer populace, frequent visitors, or any person with stories, events or reminiscences, to share their knowledge and involvement with the Saugatuck-Douglas area to better understand historical significance through the impact and dynamics of personal experience.

The Gay History Project

The Root Beer Barrel Project. A beloved Douglas landmark, the Root Beer Barrel was a favorite stopping point for thousands of summertime visitors from 1953 until its closure in the 1970s. Preserving an excellent example of mid-century roadside architecture, restoration has been undetaken by a team of History Center volunteers in partnership with the City of Douglas.


The Collections Committee's responsibilities focus on the accession and management of artifacts, artworks, photographs, and documents and the utilization of these items for interpretation and research.

Pier Cove

The Landscape Committee conceptualizes, designs and maintains both the  "Back - In - Time" History Center garden in Douglas and the waterfront garden at the History Museum in Saugatuck. From garden layout to graphic design, this committee engages in all facets of creating an outdoor classroom—with documentation of local garden-landscape history.

The Research and Documentation Committee provides information and support to people engaged in local historical and family research. At the same time, we hope to facilitate the continued collection of such information dealing with the Saugatuck-Douglas areas for future use. Our volunteers may be available to help individuals with their family research.

The Development Committee is the fundraising arm of the History Center, soliciting funds from private individuals, corporations, foundations, and other granting institutions in order to sustain and grow the organization for the long-term.

The Publication and Graphics Committee publishes various materials and books on local history topics and oversees the visual identity of the History Center.

The Old Lighthouse, 1861

The Exhibitions Committee undertakes the concept, writing, design and production of all exhibitions and learning spaces at our two facilities. The Committee also works with other community organizations such as the Saugatuck-Center for the Arts and Saugatuck Public Schools in production of collaborative programs on local history talks and exhibitions.

The Heritage Preservation Committee is charged with seeing to all matters relating to preservation and includes sub-committes on Architecture and Design, Greenspace Preservation, and Tourism Impact.

The Technology Committee advises on internal and external technology issues, produces images for exhibitions and publications, maintains a database of archival images, and oversees the History Center's web presence.

The Programming Committee plans and schedules our yearly programming series Monthly Meetings and Tuesday Talks and develops collaborative programming opportunities with other community entities.